52-Week Challenge Wrap Up

December 29, 2016
Val T., Financial Expert

Well, we’re almost done with the year, which means the 52-Week Savings Challenge is coming to a close.  How did it go for you? For me, overall, it went well, but I did need to reassess my money management style as the weekly savings amount grew. But, I’m still on track for success (so far).

So About That Savings Goal…
As previously mentioned, I had planned to put the money I saved during the challenge toward mileage overage for my leased vehicle and some toward a new (used) vehicle that I intended to finance. However, I found the perfect vehicle for a great price a little bit earlier than I had planned, so I turned in my lease and got my new-to-me car (that actually has a lower payment than my lease, so that worked out well!). Even though my end goal is not the same, I’m not stopping the challenge early. Instead, the money will be going toward some home-related expenses that have recently come up.

What I Learned
It’s gotten REALLY hard to keep up recently using the “week 1 = $1, week 2 = $2, etc.,” savings method. From past experience with the Challenge, I knew it would start getting tricky about halfway through, that was still the experience this year.

When I wrote about my mid-year check-in with the challenge, I mentioned that I was going to start doubling up on payday. I had planned to transfer enough money to my Savings Challenge Certificate to cover two weeks of challenge savings deposits. I’ve been able to keep up, but the amount to save has recently grown to around $100 each payday—yikes!

Going Forward
Even when it’s difficult, that savings balance at the end absolutely makes it worth it.  I feel pretty proud that I was able to make it through the whole challenge. However, now’s the time for me to make a decision about what will work best for me in 2017 (because I am absolutely setting a savings goal to keep me engaged in saving money!).

I’m a bit of a personal finance nerd, and I have already (roughly) “planned” my finances for all of next year (planned in quotes, because you know how well that sometimes goes, haha!). To keep things easier for next year, I’ll be aiming for the same 52-Week challenge, except I’m switching it up a little bit.

Each payday I’m going to transfer enough money to my savings account to cover that week and the following week, with the following schedule:

Another goal for 2017 is to tackle my debt and it could impact my 52-Week Challenge. I did pretty well this year, but had some unexpected home expenses come up. So, I’m considering using the 52-Week Challenge as a way to pay extra toward my credit cards. That $53 (or so) every payday would go toward my debt (on top of what I would put toward debt, which is always more than the minimum payment). As lovely as it is to see that savings balance after a year of saving, seeing a less debt seems even nicer.

Share your experiences with the 52-Week Challenge in the comments! Planning to take the challenge in 2017? We want to hear about it!


Tags: Money Management, Savings, Tips and Tricks